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Mayor Adams Announces Summer Long Celebration Of Digital Games Community Across Five Boroughs

June 5, 2023

‘NYC Summer of Games’ Delivers on Vital Piece of Mayor Adams’ “Blueprint for Economic Recovery”

First-Ever In-Person ‘Minecraft Education Battle of the Boroughs Mayor’s Cup’ to Take Place at Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum Saturday

NEW YORK - New York City Mayor Eric Adams today announced the launch of ‘NYC Summer of Games’ — a citywide celebration of New York City’s booming digital games community featuring marquee events, expos, tournaments, exhibits, workshops, and programs across all five boroughs from June – September 2023. NYC Summer of Games officially kicks off with the first-ever in-person ‘Minecraft Education Battle of the Boroughs Mayor’s Cup’ on Saturday, June 10th at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum. Presented in partnership with the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment (MOME) and the New York City Department of Education (DOE), this event will also include a digital games career expo and promotional items provided by the Mayor’s Office of Sports, Wellness and Recreation (MOSWR). Making New York City a leading hub for digital game development is a vital piece of Mayor Adams' “Rebuild, Renew, Reinvent: A Blueprint for New York City's Economic Recovery.”

“New York City has always been the world’s center of innovation, but our administration is dedicated to taking that to the next level by becoming the world’s leader in the digital gaming space and the ‘NYC Summer of Games’ takes a massive stride toward doing just that,” said Mayor Adams. “Our jam-packed calendar with gaming events not only provides an incredible way to draw in tourism this summer, but also showcases our city as the global destination for digital games. This is just the beginning, and I look forward to watching this blossoming industry grow and flourish across the five boroughs, providing jobs and opportunities for New Yorkers well into the future.”

“Since we announced our ‘Blueprint for New York City’s Economic Recovery,’ the Adams administration has engaged industry partners to make New York City a global hub for digital games,” said Deputy Mayor of Economic and Workforce Development Maria Torres-Springer. “I applaud the work of the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment in launching the ‘NYC Summer of Games’ campaign, which will highlight — for the first time — the citywide presence of the gaming industry events and partnerships. We also are thrilled to host the ‘Mayor’s Cup Battle of the Boroughs’ to test and train the digital game design skills of our very own New York City public school students so they can go on to further bolster this growing sector.”

“We are proud to present the inaugural Mayor’s Cup and the first-ever ‘NYC Summer of Games,’ which encourages New Yorkers and visitors alike to get out and play at a wide range of digital gaming events taking place across the city this summer,” said MOME Commissioner Anne del Castillo. “‘NYC Summer of Games’ celebrates our city’s burgeoning digital games industry, which supports 7,600 jobs, $762 million in wages, and $2 billion in economic output.” 

“The kickoff of the ‘NYC Summer of Games’ with the Minecraft Battle of the Boroughs Mayor’s Cup puts the ingenuity of our students front and center,” said DOE Chancellor David C. Banks. “Games and competition are often a critical part in igniting a child’s creativity and can play an important role in developing critical-thinking skills. I’m eager to see how our students harness the opportunities available to them in the e-sports arena and look forward to seeing how we can take learnings from this event into our schools.”

"We are thrilled to be part of the ‘NYC Summer of Games’ initiative, as it aligns perfectly with our mission to promote sports, wellness, and recreation in New York City,” said Mayor's Office of Sports, Wellness and Recreation Director Jasmine Ray. “The digital games community is an integral part of our city's diverse and innovative landscape, and we recognize the immense economic and cultural value it brings. Through events like the Microsoft's ‘Minecraft Education Battle of the Boroughs Mayor's Cup,’ we aim to provide an exciting platform for young gamers and students to showcase their skills and passion for digital games. We believe that by fostering a supportive and inclusive environment, we can further strengthen New York City's position as a global hub for digital game development. We are proud to be part of Mayor Adams' vision for economic recovery and look forward to witnessing the growth and success of the digital games industry in our city.”

“The competition prompt for the Battle of the Boroughs challenge was inspired by initiatives in PlaNYC: Getting Sustainability Done, the Adams administration’s climate action plan,” said Mayor’s Office of Climate & Environmental Justice (MOCEJ) Acting Executive Director Victoria Cerullo. “We are proud to partner with C40 and Microsoft to help foster the creative minds of New York City public school students as they envision local climate solutions and an environmentally just future for all.”

“New York City is committed to being a global hub for the digital gaming space. We applaud Mayor Adams on launching the ‘NYC Summer of Games’ campaign that will include expos, exhibits, and other programming across all five boroughs,” said New York City Economic Development Corporation President & CEO Andrew Kimball. “We believe our physical assets, deep bench of creative talent, business attraction services, and policy offerings are unmatched for the gaming industry. We look forward to driving inclusive growth and sparking new economic opportunities in this rapidly growing sector.”

“The launch of ‘NYC Summer of Games’ provides an opportunity for visitors to explore New York City through a local lens, showcasing the creativity and talent of New Yorkers across all five boroughs,” said New York City Tourism + Conventions President and CEO Fred Dixon. “This exciting launch propels our city forward into becoming a global hub for the digital games industry, attracting a new segment of visitors from around the world.”

The kickoff of ‘NYC Summer of Games’ comes one year after Mayor Adams took initial steps to make New York City a global hub for the digital games industry with a $2 million investment in the first-ever bachelor’s degree program in Digital Game Design at City College of New York (CCNY), as well as the establishment of the city’s first Game Development Industry Council, created to advise the city's policies and programs in the games development sector. Earlier this year, MOME launched the first-of-its-kind ‘Made in NY’ marketing credit program for digital games, which provides free advertising opportunities for digital games made in New York City — the number one media market in the nation. 

The contest prompt for students in the Minecraft Education Battle of the Boroughs was provided by MOCEJ and inspired by Mayor Adams’ long-term climate strategic plan ‘PlaNYC.' Four-hundred teams, comprised of five students each, were challenged to create the most inclusive future-ready city spaces earlier this year and have since been competing in several rounds of competition across all five boroughs. The finalists will now compete for the first time in-person for the Mayor’s Cup at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum on Saturday, June 10th.

Additional ‘NYC Summer of Games’ events include: 

 The Mayor’s Cup will provide each borough champion with a custom Xbox controller designed by Urban Arts Nagler Scholar 2023 Giselle Muriel. Additional event sponsors include Adidas, CDW, Intel, Lenovo, and Spectrum Industries. The Digital Games Career Expo will feature representatives from Adobe, Bronx Gaming Network, Computer Science for All (CS4All), City University of New York (CUNY) Gaming Pathways, CUNY Hostos Community College, Esports and Game Design Collective, Entertainment Software Rating Board, EPIC Games, Games for Change, Generation ESports, GUMBO Collective, Lego, Overwatch League, Play NYC, SAM Labs, Sphero, The Animation Project, Wagner College, Urban Arts, among others.

“The NYC Summer of Games showcases the incredible array of talent, creativity, and opportunity in the digital games community, which will continue to drive the industry forward and strengthen our city,” said Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine. “With cutting-edge opportunities for everyone from students exploring their first games to seasoned developers, the Summer of Games will be transformational for the current and future leaders of New York’s digital games community.”

“New York has always been the nerve center of pop culture, and with the Summer of Games festival, New York is leading the way again,” said Sarah Bond, corporate vice president, XBox. “Four months of activities celebrating the creativity, ingenuity, and fun of the gaming industry – the Minecraft Battle of the Boroughs Mayor’s Cup is just the beginning. Mayor Eric Adams shares our belief that gaming is a great way to play, be part of a community, and is an important, relatable gateway into STEAM learning, meaningful career opportunities and entrepreneurship. More than just fun and games - these are powerful pathways for every New Yorker.”

“We're thrilled to be a part of the Summer of Games celebration,” said Brad Hargreaves, managing partner, Playcrafting. “New York's creativity and passion comes across in the games created by indie developers across the city, and we're excited to showcase over a hundred of them at Play NYC.”

“Level Up All Gamers! The Paley Museum’s PaleyGX Gaming Studio and VR Lab is your ultimate year-round destination for all things gaming! Whether you're a casual or avid gamer, or you're looking for gaming fun for the whole family this summer or all year long, we've got you covered with the hottest video game titles, newest VR games, multiple platforms, special events, workshops, and exciting tournaments,” said Diane Lewis, chief programming officer and executive vice president, The Paley Center for Media. “We thank Mayor Adams and the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment for the opportunity to participate in the launch of NYC Summer of Games and look forward to welcoming everyone to The Paley Museum’s PaleyGX Gaming Studio and VR Lab for a fun-filled summer of gaming and interactive entertainment.”

“More than 4,100 New York City Public School students completed Mouse’s Design League course during the 2022-2023 school year, learning the computer science skills needed to prototype games and mobile apps,” said Larry Lieberman, CEO, Mouse. “Mouse is delighted to partner with the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment, New York City’s hub for digital business development, to kick-start our students’ career development with the NYC Summer of Games.” 

“Urban Arts is thrilled to be included in the mayor's Summer of Games, as the premier nonprofit designing and implementing arts and technology programs for underrepresented students,” said Philip Courtney, CEO, Urban Arts. “We teach students from low-income communities digital game development through computer science, coding, animation, music, and storytelling. We provide intensive college-access services as well as mentorships at some of New York City's most powerful media and technology companies. We’re generating a new diverse talent pipeline for the city. Urban Arts students are the future leaders and creatives of New York City's robust tech industry—defining their own futures, launching real economic mobility and advancing the success of their hometown. Game on!”

“Every summer for the past 20 years, innovative game-makers have converged in New York City for the Games for Change Festival, the largest gathering in the world for people who believe that games can drive positive change,” said Susanna Pollack, president, Games for Change. “Games for Change is looking forward to celebrating our 20th annual festival this July with an expanded week of programming for creators, gamers, and fans of all ages as part of New York City’s Summer of Games — ensuring that New York City remains the center of a global community dedicated to games and social impact.”

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